Editors note: As part of our May theme I invited Angela, the talented artist & creator of The Artists’ House to share her story of learning the fine art of balancing art, business and mothering. I feel like motherhood is one of those topics that needs to be shared in stories and it is powerful how many things we all have in common. These are the threads that tie us together as mothers and I have to thank Angela for sharing so openly the words of her heart.
by Angela Flicker of The Artists House
About eight months ago, I had a book publisher interested in me and my work. I was ecstatic. Not many people were interested in little old me –a stay at home mom, who was trying to make money on the side by quilting, designing, and teaching. I put my entire heart into the book proposal, which involved designing 10 original quilts, and making 6 of them, along with writing up a few chapters of the book as well. I had about 2 months to get the proposal done and off to the publisher. I stayed up during the nights and worked while my family slept, often working until 2, 3, sometimes 4 in the morning. During the day I would watch my daughter, and try to take care of our home. The workload was difficult, but my heart was in my work –both the work I did at night sewing, and the work I did during the day watching my daughter
I remember one morning, about a month into my work, my daughter woke up around 6 a.m., right after my husband had left for work, and only a few hours after I had gone to bed. I was exhausted and annoyed to say the least. As an attempt to get just a few more minutes of sleep, I brought my daughter, who was almost 1 ½ at the time, back to bed with me. After a bit of nursing, both of us feel back to sleep. I woke, a little later in the morning, still comatose, to find my daughter still sleeping next to me, but this time cuddling with one of my high heel shoes. As strange as it was, my heavy eyes won, and instantly I drifted back off to sleep, with my daughter and a high heel shoe in my arms. A little while later, I woke again, still unaware of the time, to a clunk, clunk, clunk noise rhythmically dancing around the hardwood floors in my room. I rolled over, and with all the energy I could muster; I opened my eyes to see my daughter, in her PJs and wild bed hair, walking around my bedroom, wearing a pair of my high heel shoes. This was the first time I had ever seen her do this –mimic me by wearing my shoes. As tired as I was, my heart warmed, and a huge smile made it’s way onto my face. I grabbed my daughter and hugged her tight –as tired as I was from working in the evenings, I loved being home with my daughter during the day for these little moments.
As adorable and sweet as the previous story is, in all reality, as time went on, things just got more difficult and I was struggling. A toll was taken on both my family and myself for sure. I felt like neither a good wife, nor a good mother. I was however able to finish and submit my book proposal, while at the same time caring for my daughter every day without help. I sometimes taught in the afternoon after my husband got home from work, and I also prepared and attended two holiday craft shows for a little extra cash. All in all, we survived, and slowly things went back to normal, as I anxiously waited to hear back from the publishers.
A few days before my 30th birthday, late in the afternoon after my daughter’s nap, and about 4 hours before a big party that was being thrown in my honor, I finally heard back from the publisher, “The team really felt that your work is excellent, but that the book would have limited appeal as a collection.” I was declined and heartbroken to say the least. I started to cry. My daughter came to my side, wrapped her arms around my legs, looked up at me, and asked, “Momma, you sad?”. I picked her up, and hugged her tight, and as sad as I was in that moment, I knew I was ok because I had the love of my daughter, and truly nothing in the world was greater than that.
Being a stay-at-home-mother and running a creative business on the side is hard –a rollercoaster really! Nothing is consistent or predictable. Orders come in, children get sick, and deadlines hang over your head. Business slows, business booms, rejection, and good news are all part of the game. And on the good days, and the bad, when nothing seems stable, one thing always is, the love you have for your children. I’m sure I’ll continue to experience the ups and downs of running a business at home, but on the other hand, I have the consistency of a loving child who is with me each and every day. Though I know my business is not progressing as fast as it could if I devoted my time solely to my work, I will never regret or forget these wonderful years at home with my children.
Angela Flicker specializes in machine appliqué quilts and creates customized, truly unique quilts, sewn together one piece at a time –quilts that are “only the best” for you and your loved ones. Along with quilts, she also creates unique fiber wall art and other home decor items using quality turned-edge machine appliqué techniques, quilting techniques, and wool appliqué techniques. Angela makes things that make a house not just a house, but a home. You can shop The Artists’ House on Etsy and follow her fabulous sewing blog where she offers up many free patterns and tutorials. OMHG readers get 15% off all items in Angela Flicker’s shop with the coupon code “OMHGROCKS”.